Lucite is a plastic material that was used to make women's handbags in the late 1940s and early 1950s. They were made by a variety of designers and due to their popularity became known more commonly as plastic handbags. Most Lucite handbags were manufactured in bold geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles or circles. Lucite handbags are valued as collectibles, but their value can vary widely based on the type of design, color and condition of the bag.
Evaluate the value of the bag based on its color. According to CountryLiving.com, the most valuable Lucite colors in order are red, aqua, yellow, emerald green, powder blue, purple and pink.
Examine the exterior condition of the bag. There should be no scratches, cracks, warps or other damage to the outside of the handbag. Lucite cannot be repaired, so damage to the surface devalues the bag greatly. Smell the exterior and interior of the handbag for a chemical odor which indicates that the plastic is degrading.
Look on the metal hinge of the purse to locate the designer's name. The name may also be located on a paper tag that is attached to the bottom of the purse. Will Hardy and Charles S. Kahn were two of the most well-known original Lucite designers.
Look for seams along the Lucite plastic. When first developed, the handbags were handcrafted. As their popularity grew, machine processing took over. Handcrafted bags are much more valuable than those manufactured by machines.
Find prices of identical or nearly identical purses on online auction sites to determine a price range for your handbag. Try to get three to five prices to develop an accurate price range. To correctly value the handbag, find purses by the same designer, in the same color and in the same condition.